SIC and the Deep Web

July 21st, 2014 by Dodie

Thanks to the advent of social networking, information is available now more than ever in performing background checks on potential employees or tenants. However, the large amount of information available and the ever-increasing number of sources can make a complete analysis difficult for a single person. In addition, there are legal consequences of doing so personally.

Professional companies can perform these social media background checks with greater skill and efficiency, their impartiality making what they do legal. The services they provide can be custom-fit to the needs and desires of any employer or tenant screener. In addition to basic information, such as name and contact information, full employment histories can be discovered and, if desired, any items in the applicant’s social media history that may trigger red flags and be brought to the attention of those reviewing the candidate.

Furthermore, a continuing check can be placed on the individual in question. By developing a social media policy with regards to what information and activity is or is not considered acceptable, the company can continue to monitor the social media profile in search of those undesired activities.

Companies like the Social Intelligence Corporation (SIC) only look for information in public social media profiles, which stops them from violating the privacy of the individual they are surveying. It is a credit reporting agency under the auspice of the Federal Credit Reporting Agency and, therefore, follows all regulations and statutes of that agency. This protects the SIC and similar companies from legal action against them or their clients.

The Deep Web, sometimes known as the Dark Web or the Invisible Web, is another potential source of information. But since the deep web is private, it can be more difficult to acquire information from it. It consists of all materials located on the internet, but those that cannot be accessed directly by typing in a web address.

These sites may be hidden for a variety of reasons. The most common block, though, happens when a website requires a form to be filled out in order to gain access. These forms may ask for username and password, or they may be similar to the CAPTCHA system where a user has to identify information from an image to proceed, to prevent automated access.

Nevertheless, automated access is indeed possible to these sites through resources that automatically populate the forms that block access. There are a large number of resources that allow a user to “crawl” the deep web, searching it in a manner similar to how Google searches the visible web. Purdue University maintains a list of these search engines, though more pop up regularly to circumvent the security measures of those hidden sites.

Crawling the deep web for information regarding a potential employee or tenant, though, falls under a murkier legal area as this information is not public. Companies like the SIC does not access information via the deep web to avoid the potential legal consequences, and an employer or landlord using those resources as a part of their background checks would be open to potential legal action against them.

The quantity of information available for background checks is greater than ever before, but the complexity of this information and the legal murkiness for individuals searching for it make it a smart choice to look into professional options to supplement standard background check procedures.

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